A good day turned into an excellent one for
First, he suffered no ill effects from his return to the lineup Tuesday night against Boston after being sidelined because of an injured finger. Then he practiced Wednesday without any issues and several hours later signed a six-year, $24-million contract extension.
The deal carries an annual average value of $4 million, and he became the second Kings defenseman to sign a long-term deal since the season started, joining
Next, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi presumably will turn his attention to his talented young forwards, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, because both would become restricted free agents after this season.
Taking care of Martinez was an important early priority. Of late, his absence was keenly felt as more minutes were piled on defenseman
Martinez, 27, scored a career-high 11 goals and 22 points last season and followed that with six playoff goals, two of which were franchise highlights. He had the overtime winner in Game 7 of the
The finger injury, which required surgery, forced Martinez to miss seven games. He played 19 minutes against the
"I thought I did some good things and there were some other things that I need to tighten up," Martinez said after practice. "Sometimes there is no other way to replicate a game situation than just to play in a game. I've got some areas to improve on. But that will come."
Said Kings Coach
Martinez has formed a successful partnership with
"He's a little bit different with us, a little less scary you would say, around us," Martinez said. "I know what you're talking about. My second game in the league and he suckered me right in the jaw in Calgary.
"I was just some young kid and I had to punch him back. I was like, 'Holy crap, that's Robyn Regehr and did I just really punch him?' "
Injured Marian Gaborik practiced Wednesday but Sutter indicated the right wing was unlikely to play or travel to Arizona with the team for Thursday's game.
Gaborik said he suffered an upper-body injury late in last week's game at Nashville and has missed two games. He said it was similar to a previous injury but on "the other side" of his body.
"I just try to get it to a point where I can go out there and play," Gaborik said. "So, it should be pretty soon."
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